VERDICT: Mansfield Town 1 Bury 4
7:00am Thursday 27th February 2014 in Bury FC
THE performances and results were already there, all that was missing was the goals and they duly arrived at the One Call Stadium.
While the Shakers’ defence has rightly been winning all the plaudits, when the attackers finally took their chance to shine on Tuesday night the proud Stags looked more like deer trapped in the headlights.
Saturday’s goal hero Danny Mayor was their tormentor behind the wheel – driving Bury forward on an emotional night for him personally.
The 24-yar-old midfielder started the classy demolition job with a well-placed drive in the 25th minute before laying on two second-half goals for striker Daniel Nardiello.
And while Sam Clucas gave the Stags faint hopes of a comeback 20 minutes from time, Huddersfield loanee Jake Carroll extinguished those with his first goal in Bury colours just a minute later.
“It’s a special performance from Danny Mayor,” said manager David Flitcroft after the match, despite being reluctant to pick out any individuals following a fantastic team performance.
“He had problems yesterday and I wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to play.
“So it was an emotional night for Danny, but he has represented his family and I’m proud to be his manager tonight.”
While Mayor took centre stage, it was the first time Bury as a whole had really hit top gear under Flitcroft.
Despite being in fine form since the turn of the year, with just one defeat in 10 matches, they had failed to score more than one goal in a game since New Year's Day and the Shakers boss was clearly delighted his side had finally clicked as an attacking force.
“We’ve been very professional about our business over the last eight weeks,” he said.
“I think that puts us on top of the form tables now and it gives me great pleasure the progress I have talked about is now down as a stat.
“We are plus one on goal difference, which is something we have been working towards.
“I’ve been vying for the team to get a couple more goals just so we could get into positive equity and we’ve done that tonight.
“So all round it has been a professional performance from Bury Football Club.”
Bury were made to work, however, before their attackers were able to fill their boots.
Captain Craig Jones was given a rude introduction, suffering a nasty cut above his right eye in the seventh minute following an accidental elbow from Colin Daniel.
The Shakers skipper was able to carry on, with the aid of some heavy strapping and half-time stitches, but after showing they could deal with the rough stuff, Bury slowly wrestled control of the match.
And it wasn’t long before Mayor underlined their dominance, cutting in from the left and rifling a low drive into the bottom corner.
It was the on-loan Sheffield Wednesday midfielder’s second goal in as many games, following his last-gasp winner at Wimbledon on Saturday.
Mansfield invariably took the direct approach whenever they could get hold of the ball, but were restricted to a couple of half chances, Clucas prodding a loose ball wide from close range before testing Bury stopper Brian Jensen with a hooked shot from 30 yards.
The Shakers should have taken a two-goal advantage into the break after Nardiello poked a wicked low ball from Mayor just over.
But they were two goals to the good by the 56th minute, Mayor popping up on the right to find Nardiello with another great low centre, although the Bury striker’s close-range effort only found the net via the inside of the back post.
The victory looked to have been sealed just six minutes later as Mayor put Nardiello through again and this time he crafted an exquisite lob from 30 yards for.
And while Clucas seized on a mistake from Jensen to tap into an empty net, Carroll’s stabbed shot into the turf looped over Alan Marriott in the Stags’ goal quickly restored their three goal advantage.
That saw Bury coast home to their second successive three points on the road, stretching their unbeaten run to six matches and moving them up five places to 15th in the League Two table.
MANSFIELD: Marriott; Sutton, Dempster, Tafazolli (Hutchinson 82); Westlake, Clements (Cain 66), Howell, Daniel; Stevenson; Rhead (Palmer 63), Clucas.
Not used: Dyer, Beevers, Meikle, McGuire.
BURY: Jensen 6; Veseli 7, Mills 8, McNulty 8; Jones 7, Sedgwick 7, Tutte 7, Carroll 7; Mayor 9 (Miller 72); Platt 6 (Forrester 68), Nardiello 8 (Dudley 90).
Not used: Charles-Cook, Hinds, Procter, Burke.
Goals: Mansfield Town 1 (Clucas 70) Bury 4 (Mayor 25, Nardiello 56 & 64, Carroll 71)
Yellow cards: Mansfield Town – Daniel 57. Bury – Carroll 75.
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).
Attendance: 2,628 (220 visiting).
Star man: Danny Mayor – The 22-year-old winger promised to add more goals and assists to his game after popping up with a 94th-minute winner against Wimbledon on Saturday, and he duly delivered. It was touch and go if he would even play amid difficult family circumstances. But the Leyland-born midfielder opened the scoring and then laid on a brace for Daniel Nardiello to cap an emotional evening for him personally, as well as a rewarding one for a team that is growing in confidence with every match.